Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fire Safety Tips for Parents

As promised....some Fire Safety tips for Parents:
  • Always make sure overnight guests and sitters know where the fire extinguishers and/or other safety equipment (such as ladders) are in your house and how to use them. It only takes a second to show them. 
  • Keep one fire extinguisher on each floor- I recommend under the kitchen sink near the front of the cabinet where it's easily reachable AS SOON AS you open the cabinet door, or in the pantry, if you have one, in the case of kitchen fires. Other good spots in the house are those central to additional floors if you have an upstairs and/or basement. For example, if the linen closet is in the middle of the house upstairs, put it in there on the floor in the front corner UN-BURIED! and easily accessible.
  • Check your fire extinguisher(s) regularly to be sure they are still "good" and functional. There should be a dial on them and the needle should be in the green. Replace them as needed- talk to a firefighter at your local firehouse to find out when its safest to pitch the old and go with the new.
  • Never leave appliances such as the dishwasher, dryer, stove/oven running or on while you're away. If a fire breaks out, no one is there to catch it in the early stages and put it out before it does some serious damage. Even if you think you're only running out for a few minutes, think about what might happen if you are delayed instead by car trouble or unexpected traffic. You'll only be a ton more stressed and no one needs that kind of pressure, especially behind the wheel.
  • Clean lint from the dryer mesh every single time. I recently watched my brother revisit his Boy-Scouting days by showing us how he could light a ball of lint from the dryer with a flint and we all watched wide-eyed and impressed as it burned up faster than one would imagine. It was cool but sorta scary as I pictured how this very same scenario was possible in the typical home dryer (lint build-up + spark/heat). 
  • Every 3-6 months wash the dryer's lint screen well so it's free of fabric softener- some
    thing which is quite flammable and leaves a film on clothes and the screen...which is why I skip traditional fabric softener and use a cup of vinegar in the wash instead but that's for another post.
  • Every 6 months, gently vacuum out your smoke detector using your vacuum cleaner attachments to get rid of dust, which can either cause false alarms, or no alarm at all!.  
  • Never put anything that has had oil on it in the dryer. This includes dishcloths, oven mitts, and hubby's oily clothes from his car-tinkering hobby, ahem. To be safe, just go ahead and air dry it.
There, now that you're all adequately and equally as paranoid as myself (hopefully you're just more prepared and more knowledgeable but if you've gone overboard like myself, you see you're not alone) my work here is done.

Some Links:
National Fire Protection Agency offers assessments in case of fire emergencies

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